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Kentucky Landlord Tenant Laws

Kentucky Landlord Tenant Laws

A landlord and tenant relationship is formed when two parties come to an agreement where one party (the tenant) agrees to occupy another party’s (the landlord) property with permission and with the condition of remitting yearly monthly or weekly rent payments.  In some instances, the agreement between a landlord and his/her tenant may be adhered to without any issues, but this is not always the case, hence the need for landlord-tenant laws.

Every state has its set of laws that govern residential units and the relationship between landlords and their tenants. This article will cover some of the vital Kentucky Landlord Tenant Laws:

Kentucky laws on Security Deposit

The amount of money a tenant should pay as the security deposit is not stipulated by the Kentucky landlord tenant laws. However, Landlords usually ask for at least a one month’s deposit before the commencement of tenancy; this is intended to cover any damages a tenant might cause at the premises and to prevent the landlord from incurring any rental loss if the tenant moves out with a debt. The amount a tenant should pay for security deposit is usually stated in the lease or tenant-landlord agreement.

In the event a tenant moves out, the landlord is required by law to refund the security deposit within 30 to 60 days. However, this will depend on whether or not a tenant has filed a dispute regarding the deductions made on the deposit by the landlord (§ 383.580(6) and (KRS § 383.580(7)).

The law in this state also requires landlords to disclose (give notice) in writing or orally the deductions they intend to make on their tenants’ security deposits and for what purposes, such as repairing damage to the walls caused by the tenant.

Landlord Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes

Kentucky law dictates the disclosures a landlord must make known to a tenant prior to the commencement of tenancy, these include:

•    Landlords are required by this state’s to disclose to their tenants where their deposits are being held, such as the bank and the account number; and this must be a separate account from the one rent is deposited in(KRS § 383.580(1)). If the security deposit was not deposited in a separate account, the landlord might not keep any part of the deposit for whatever reason.

•    Before the commencement of the tenancy, a landlord is required to present the tenant with a comprehensive list of any pre-existing damage to the residential unit (KRS § 383.580(2)). A move-out checklist should also be presented to the tenant, and it should disclose a list of damages, which will be deducted from the security deposit (KRS § 383.580(3)).

•    Under KRS. § 383.585, a landlord is required to disclose (in writing) to the tenant the identity of the agent or individual that is tasked with the responsibility of managing the premises. The landlord must also make known the identity of the person who will represent the owner of the premises; for instance, the person who will issue and receive notices to and from the tenant on behalf of the premises’ owner.

The law also describes the responsibilities of both a tenant and a landlord. Those of a landlord under (KRS § 383.595) include:

•    Repairs: the landlord should make the necessary repairs keep the premise in a habitable and fit condition always.

•    Compliance: the landlord is required to adhere to the stipulated housing and building codes such as those affecting health and safety.

•    Maintenance: the owner is required to maintain and keep the following in proper working condition, plumbing, heating, electrical, ventilating, sanitary and other appliances and facilities.

•    Common Areas:  all common spaces within the premises should be kept in safe and clean conditions.

The Duties of a Tenant under KRS § 383.605 include:

  • Compliance:  tenant shall comply with all the stipulated provisions of the building and housing codes.

•    Cleanliness: the tenant is required to observe cleanliness in the area he/she occupies; this area should also be kept safe.

•    Plumbing and appliances: the tenant shall keep all plumbing units in a clean and safe condition. All appliances must also be utilized in a reasonable and safe manner.

•    Lawful Activity: the tenant shall not knowingly damage, destroy, deface or impair any part of the premises; neither shall the tenant allow someone else to do so.

•    Quiet Enjoyment: The tenant’s behavior shall take into consideration the needs of other people residing in the premises such as neighbors. The Tenant shall not disturb his/her neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

Kentucky Small Claims Court

The law in this state allows tenants to sue their landlord when he/she has failed to return their security deposit, up to $2,500(KRS § 24A.230). The small claims court which handles deposit disputes in Kentucky, also handles eviction disputes.

The right of a Kentucky tenant to withhold rent

In Kentucky, a tenant is allowed to withhold rent from the landlord for purposes of making necessary repairs, this is referred to as “repair and deduct’. In “repair and deduct”, the tenant hires a professional to make the repairs such as replace a leaking roof, and then the tenant deducts these costs from the rent.  The other option a tenant has is to withhold rent until the landlord agrees to make the repairs himself.

Kentucky Notices and Entry

Kentucky law recognizes a tenant’s right to privacy in their home, and hence, restricts the entry of a landlord. Here are some of the entry rules and notices an owner should make before entry or termination of a lease agreement:

•    Notice to Terminate Tenancy:  a tenancy is automatically terminated (without notice) once a lease agreement expires.  A landlord is required to give a 30-day notice (KRS § 383.695(2)) for the termination of a Month-to-Month Lease and a seven days’ notice of the termination of a Week-to-Week Lease (KRS § 383.695(1)).

•    Termination for Nonpayment: a tenant has seven days from the date a termination notice was issued to quit or remedy a non-payment of rent issue, as stated under KRS § 383.660(2).

  • Lease Violation: once a notice has been issued for lease violation a tenant has 15 days under law to remedy and quit.  However, tenants repeating the same offense within six months can be issued with an unconditional quit notice, as specified under KRS § 383.660(1).
  • Entry Notice: A landlord is required to issue the tenant with a two days’ notice for entry into the rental unit, and he/she may only enter the premises at reasonable times (KRS § 383.615). Entry with notice for maintenance and repairs purposes is allowed under KRS § 383.615. A landlord is also allowed entry for showing purposes but with notice under the same laws. In the case of a reasonable emergency, a landlord is allowed entry into his/her tenant’s rental unit.
  • Notice of Extended Absence: A tenant is required to give notice of an extended absence that goes beyond seven days, but only if this is specified in the rental agreement.  During such an absence the landlord is allowed entry into the tenant’s rental unit (KRS § 383.670).

Kentucky landlord tenant laws stipulate the rights of landlords and their tenants. These laws also seek to offer guidance in the event a dispute may arise, and they also ensure that there is no violation of these substantial rights of landlords and tenants, hence the need to familiarize yourself with some of these laws.

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Duane - September 1, 2016

In Kentucky can a landlord force you to pay rent by the eCheck or electronic means?

Thanks.
Duane

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